Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Harley Quinn #72 Review

Down for the Count

Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Abel, Hi-Fi and Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 12, 2020

I have not reviewed an issue of Sam Humphries Harley Quinn on the site in a while for a bunch of reasons.  I wasn't enjoying for one, and also, he went and blocked us on twitter, and so I figured I'd give the guy as wide a berth as possible.  I have been reading Harley, though, since I love her and have always been the "Harley Guy" at Weird Science.  So, what do I think of this latest issue, and will it get me thrown into Double Secret Probation by Sam Humphries?  Let's find out...

We jump into the issue with a nice scene with Harley and Booster Gold that, of course, ends up crazy before heading off to where we left off the last issue.  Harley in the middle of a royal rumble that is very real to her!

She didn't realize it was a tag-team match until Booster shows up and saves her from the bottom of a pile-up and off they go into the night.  It's a fun enough scene, but my biggest problem with Sam Humphries is he never lets a scene develop long enough and never sets it up enough to make it meaningful.  Booster asks Harley what she was thinking of fighting a bunch of super-powered wrestlers, but the reader never really got to see the threat or have any fun with it.  What are these guys' cool powers and wrestling names?  There is so much potential for fun here, and Humphries wastes it.

That isn't surprising, though, since this whole story arc lacked any set up to make it matter.  Alicia's murder is the big moment, but it happened right after meeting her and telling the reader that she and Harley were besties doesn't beat showing it.  The lack of setup also doesn't open up a lot of suspects in the murder, either.

After being called out by Alicia's daughter, Booster shows up, and again, they have a nice little moment, drop a Semisonic line, drink like a model (straight outta the bottle), and head off to Gordita Beach.

While Harley and Booster try to sneak around a cult meeting, Sam Humphries tries to lay on the funny, and thank god Harley and Booster are more successful than family sex jokes!  They almost get off "Scott Free", but are caught after discovering Apokolips tech.  This is where Humphries won me over a bit.  Harley uses her psych degree plus her compassion to win over their attacker when they realize they have a sad connection.  As per the usual, though, we get yanked away immediately.  The issue ends with Harley putting 1 + B + 😎 together to decide who the killer really is, but that lands her in even more hot water by the cliffhanger page.

Sam Humphries seems stuck between wanting to write a touching, personal Harley story and telling bad jokes, and trying to have fun.  The personal stuff does work the best, especially when it's Harley and Booster on the page, but the overall story suffers from the ping pong going on.  The jokes get more panel time then the plot, and he keeps relying on her mother's death to get any feels.  I did like the shoutout to her time on Apokolips, but everything feels like it's way more fan service than storytelling.

The issue did look great!  Abel's art showed Harley's emotions and even helped sell the jokes a bit more than they deserved.  While I haven't been digging this book much lately, the art has been consistently good.

Bits and Pieces:

While I like some of what Sam Humphries is doing with Harley, this murder mystery still lacks the setup and details to make me care to see it through to the end.  I doubt many readers gasped when the suspect in Alicia's murder switched from one guy we know little about to another we know even less, and why is that?  I understand that Harley is the type of character you can roll through an issue and enjoy the zany moments, but Sam Humphries wants to do more, but without a solid story, he fails here.


No comments:

Post a Comment